Citroen team manager Sven Smeets has departed the French team for Volkswagen, mirroring the move made by driver Sebastien Ogier. Smeets was unavailable for comment on the move, but sources have confirmed the Belgian will be switching to the Hannover-based VW team in the coming weeks.
Smeets, who was a long-time World Rally Championship co-driver for Freddy Loix, joined Citroen in 2006 and became team manager in 2008. He will undertake a similar role at the VW team, without the commercial activities which had participated in for Citroen. He will not be named as team manager, a role which is taken by Peter Utoft, to whom he will report.
A Citroen source has poured cold water on speculation that Smeets' move came about after Yves Matton was named as team principal. "That's not the case at all," said the source. "Sven's decision came long before the news that Yves would start his new job."
Smeets informed Citroen of his decision to leave on Jan. 2.